BOZICH | UK baseball gains on U of L in RPI; Cards' pro prospects shine
Kentucky evened its season series with Louisville Tuesday night. Could the programs be headed for a rubber match in the NCAA Super Regional or College World Series?
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The Louisville-Kentucky rivalry never rests. There is no time for that. Not in basketball. Not in football. Not in baseball.
Maybe Louisville and Kentucky can meet again this season – during the College World Series in Omaha. Louisville knows the way. It’s time for the Wildcats to follow.
*Louisville and Kentucky – The Battle Continues.
Louisville won the first game of the Cardinals’ baseball rivalry with Kentucky, 5-3, at Patterson Stadium April 4. The Wildcats took the rematch, 11-7, Tuesday night in Lexington.
There will be no rubber match – unless the teams meet in the NCAA Tournament. That likely would not occur until the Super Regionals or College World Series.
With more than a month until the 64-team field is announced on May 29, both programs are in line to host regionals.
The Cards are ranked sixth in the latest Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) numbers, but that is only one spot ahead of the Wildcats. The top 16 teams host regionals. Eight host super regionals.
The human polls like Louisville considerably more than Kentucky. The Cards are ranked second by Baseball America as well as in the Coaches’ Poll while the Wildcats are No. 14 in Baseball America and 13th in the Coaches’ poll. Those polls were compiled before UK’s win in Lexington.
There are no locks in mid-April, but Louisville (31-5) is in the neighborhood for a regional lock. Starting with a weekend series against Duke (no, Grayson Allen does not play shortstop), the Cardinals play their next 11 games against opponents with a .500 record or worse.
Kentucky (26-12) has more work to do – against tougher competition – to hold its spot in the Top 16 or advance to the Top 8 in the human polls. The Wildcats face teams with winning records in their next seven games, starting with a three-game series against visiting Louisiana State, No. 14 in the RPI, this weekend.
*Five members of Louisville’s 2016 baseball team made Baseball America’s daily prospect report Wednesday.
Catcher Will Smith had a double, walk and stolen base at Rancho Cucamonga, the Dodgers’ affiliate in the High-A California League. Smith has six runs batted in during his first nine games. He is also a product of Kentucky Country Day High School.
Corey Ray, an outfielder with Milwaukee, had a double for the Brewers’ High A team in the Florida State league. Ray arrived from extended spring training this week and has struck out five times in 11 at bats.
Second baseman Nick Solak plays for the Yankees in the Florida State League. He’s hitting .200 after an 0-for-4 night.
Pitcher Drew Harrington won his second game for the Braves’ team in the Florida State League, striking out five while allowing six hits in five innings.
Closer Zack Burdi rebounded from a blown save over the weekend to earn his second save by pitching a scoreless ninth inning with three strikeouts for Charlotte, the White Sox Class AAA affiliate.
*The latest Kentucky Derby odds have arrived. We’re 17 days from the Run the Roses and the folks at Bovada.com have shared their latest odds with an updated favorite.
Classic Empire’s thunderous stretch run to take the Arkansas Derby at the wire has bumped him to the Kentucky Derby favorite at 9-to-2, just ahead of Always Dreaming. Winner of the Florida Derby, Always Dreaming is the second pick at 5-to-1.
The third choice is Wood Memorial winner Irish War Cry at 13-to-2, followed by McCraken, who is 10-to-1. Gunnevera is fifth at 12-to-1.
Finally, six horses are listed at 16-to-1: Battalion Runner, Gormley, Irap, Practical Joke, Tapwrit and Thunder Snow
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